HEALTH

Research shows condroitin sulfate can prevent joint structure degradation

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA A new study published in the February edition of the American College of Rheumatology’s journal Arthritis & Rheumatism examined the effect of chondroitins 4 and 6 sulfate on osteoarthritis progression and symptoms. These chondroitins, unlike other chondroitin sulfate products sold as dietary supplements in the United States, has been approved as a prescription symptomatic slow acting drug for OA in many European countries.

Led by Andre Kahan of the University of Paris Descartes in Paris, the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 622 patients with OA from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. Patients had knee X-rays at the time of enrollment and at 12, 18 and 24 months. The X-rays were evaluated for joint space loss and patients were also assessed for OA symptoms and pain.

The results showed that “long-term administration of CS over two years can prevent joint structure degradation in patients with knee OA,” the authors stated. Joint space loss was significantly reduced in the CS group, fewer patients had progression of joint space width, and CS reduced pain in those taking it compared to the placebo group. CS was well-tolerated and there were no significant differences in the frequency of adverse events between the two groups.

The study showed that there was faster improvement regarding pain during the first year in the CS group compared to the placebo group. This may be due to the fact that all of the patients had pain symptoms, so the effect of CS was more noticeable early on. Since those who took a placebo also had decreased pain in the first year, it may also be due to the natural course of the disease. The authors note that the study involved CS, which is used as a prescription drug and that the results cannot be generalized to other chondroitin sulfate products or compounds, such as those available in the form of dietary supplements.

The decrease in joint space loss shown in this and another recent study involving 300 patients, suggests better outcomes for OA patients, according to the authors. They conclude: “Further studies with longer followup and different outcome criteria are warranted to assess whether the beneficial structural changes associated with CS demonstrated in our study are predictive of improvement in the long-term clinical progression of OA.”

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Matrixx considering partnership with other OTC companies to release Zicare and Xcid

BY Michael Johnsen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Matrixx Initiatives is exploring partnering with other over-the-counter companies on the national roll out of its Zicare oral care product and Xcid antacid.

“We continue to explore the possibility of partnering with other parties on both of those projects,,” Bill Hemelt, Matrixx acting president, CFO and COO, told analysts last week. “As we’ve said before, we don’t want to move forward on them by ourselves because of the significant risks associated with that,” he said. “Xcid was a disappointment. … We did roll it out on a limited basis this past year, but it did not meet our expectations. Not because it’s a bad product, it just simply will require greater investment to take that nationally. So we are exploring partnership possibilities for both of those projects.”

Both products are “market ready,” Hemelt said, replete with consumer research and product research.

Zicare, when used in conjunction with a daily oral routine, helps dissolve up to 30% of visible tartar that has already formed and helps inhibit future tartar formation above the gumline, according to the product web site. Zicare is a gel that is applied at the gumline and between the teeth after brushing and before bed.

Xcid is an antacid featuring a unique delivery form — a creamy pudding-like gel available in three flavors: strawberry, orange and chocolate.

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Following salmonella outbreak, Obama calls for review of FDA

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The spate of peanut butter recalls associated with salmonella contamination has prompted President Barack Obama to call for a “complete review” of the Food and Drug Administration for failing to detect the contamination before sickening more than 500 people in an interview with TODAY co-host Matt Lauer over the weekend, which aired Monday.

Over the course of the interview, Obama suggested that the comprehensive peanut butter recall was only the latest incident to highlight misgivings about the agency. “The FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch,” he said during the interview.

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